Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "“This was a major victory for Dookhan defendants and for justice and fairness in the commonwealth."
Dan Marx, a private attorney who worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on the case.
COMMENTARY: "Dookhan-linked convictions closer to being overturned," by columnist Bob McGovern, published by The Boston Herald, on January 19, 2017;
GIT: "Thousands of defendants whose cases may have been tainted by disgraced former state chemist Annie Dookhan could soon see their convictions tossed after a high court decision that all but forces prosecutors to dismiss a lion’s share of the charges. The Supreme Judicial Court could have thrown out the 24,000 cases that may have been corrupted by Dookhan, but instead it did the next best thing — a divided SJC yesterday gave prosecutors 90 days to list all of the convictions they want to dismiss. For the rest, district attorneys have to certify in a letter that they can and will produce evidence — not handled by Dookhan — that could secure a guilty verdict if they are forced to go to trial again. “The remedy we order, challenging as it is to implement, preserves the ability of these defendants to vindicate their rights through case-by-case adjudication, respects the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and maintains the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system,” SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote. The not-so-secret result of the decision will likely be thousands of dismissals. District attorney offices are already burdened with ever-increasing caseloads, and taking the time to go back and re-prosecute an avalanche of small-time drug offenses from years past would be crippling. If they choose to not dismiss cases, prosecutors have to foot the bill for notifying every single defendant of their rights. Gants noted that this could be avoided by “reducing the number of defendants” whose cases will not be dismissed. “This was a major victory for Dookhan defendants and for justice and fairness in the commonwealth,” said Dan Marx, a private attorney who worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on the case. Peter Elikann, the former chairman of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s criminal justice section, said the SJC’s decision puts the onus on the state’s prosecutors specifically to “do the right thing.” “We’ll see whether the DAs do follow the spirit of it,” Elikann said. The spirit of the thing, in no uncertain terms, is to clear the docket.........While witnesses and evidence will be factors for sure, the biggest consideration is the value of protecting these potentially tainted convictions. Is it worth paying a taxpayer-funded fortune to fight old battles?No, it’s not, and that’s why thousands of Dookhan defendants will likely get long-delayed justice after just 90 more days."
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/